The Bridge to the Calypso Trail in the Terry Badlands

As we wrote a few days ago (click here), the North Dakota Badlands has two counterparts to make a Badlands Trio, both in Montana. 

From above the west entrance of the Cartwright Tunnel, looking west to the Fairview Lift Bridge.

 

Besides the rock formations, they also have one other thing in common: Bridges!

 

 

Between Williston and Sidney are the Fairview Lift Bridge

iron work, golden hour, snowden lift bridge

Golden hour under the north end of the Snowden Lift Bridge

 

 

and the Snowden Lift Bridge

 

 

and the Four Bears Bridge

four bears bridge

The beautiful Four Bears Bridge west of New Town.

 

And of course, near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the Long X Bridge.

Long x bridge in spring

Now headed for the trash heap, the historic Long X Bridge has been replaced with a new concrete four-lane modern bridge.

 

 

Some would be scared, but we loved it!

The Milwaukee RR Bridge to the Calypso Trail in the Terry Badlands.

 

We found out that to get to the best part of one of them, the Terry Badlands, we had to drive across a 113-year old railroad bridge to the Calypso Trail (click here to learn more about the calypso trail.)

Milwaukee RR bridge at Calypso Trail

The Milwaukee RR bridge is now a 1-lane auto bridge that spans the Yellowstone River west of Terry, MT.

 

The way to the rugged open Terry Badlands is only across the bridge to the Calypso Trail, and if you haven’t explored the Calypso Trail, you oughta plan on it. You will always remember it. I guess that makes the Calypso Trail “memorable.”

Milwaukee RR Bridge and the Calypso Trail

 

The Drive Across the Bridge to the Calypso Trail

Folks in Terry love to talk about this bridge — and it’s access to the Calypso Trail in the Terry Badlands.  They all seem to say the same thing. The bridge is old and rickety, but it’s safe.

And they warn everyone — don’t go too far on the Calypso Trail unless you have a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle.

 

This is what it looks like to drive across the bridge to the Calypso Trail:

 

Four More Stories of the Badlands Trio Coming:

We spent the morning in Terry, and that is a story all to itself. 

We’re putting together a little video to show you what it’s like to spend a morning in Terry, Montana. (Bet you never thought of doing that.  Neither had we! But we’re glad we did!)

Our brief hike in the Terry Badlands was good enough to repeat.  That story is developing.

We headed to the third member of the Badlands Trio — the Makoshika Badlands — but we got rained out. So, that’s another story, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the Terry Badlands?

About halfway between Glendive and Miles City Montana, north of I-94 is the town of Terry. North of Terry are the Terry Badlands, accessible by blacktop on the east and by rugged two-track trail on the west.

What is the Calypso Trail?

It was a back way across the eastern half of the state through the rugged nearly-impassable Terry Badlands.  Bootleggers and rum-runners forged the trail. Eventually, a little village was established at the rail line where the Calypso Trail begain.

When is a good time to see the Calypso Trail?

Don’t even think about it if it has been raining, or snow has melted. It is a thick gumbo that will stop you in your tracks a long way from civilization.

Where do we eat and sleep in Terry?

There is a motel and the historic Kempton Hotel. The motel is a classic motor-lodge motel, one story, in a U-shape with parking at the front door of the rooms.  The Kempton is the oldest continual-operating lodging in Montana, well over 100 years in operation.  They say it is haunted.

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